Hungary asks EU to extend Ukraine grain ban until year's end
Photo via EPA

Hungary has asked the European Union to extend restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grains and oilseeds for five Eastern European countries at least until the end of 2023, state secretary of the Hungarian agriculture ministry Zsolt Feldman said, Reuters reports.

According to Mr Feldman, Hungary also asked Brussels to grant financial support to local farmers to facilitate the transport of grain stocks stuck in domestic storage before this year's harvest.

"Our interest is that Hungary's harvest could be completed safely and Hungarian farmers could be able to sell their product," he said after a meeting of EU farm ministers in Brussels.

In mid-April, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, under pressure from local producers, suspended the import of grain and other food products from Ukraine.

The countries agreed to cancel unilateral restrictions only after lengthy negotiations with the European Union, as a result of which the European Commission agreed to allocate 100 million euros for compensation to farmers of Ukraine's neighbouring countries.

The EU on May 2 set restrictions until June 5 on imports of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed to ease the excess supply of the grains in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

While the restriction is set to expire in early June, the said countries have been pushing for it to be extended further, citing continued pressure on their respective local grain markets.